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The Madisonian model is a structure of government in which the powers of the government are separated into three branches: executive, legislative, and judicial. This came about because the delegates saw the need to structure the government in such a way to prevent the imposition of tyranny by either majority or minority. James Madison proposed this governmental scheme so that the power and influence of each branch would be balanced by those of the others. The separation of powers is a result of Congress passing laws, the president enforcing laws, and the courts interpreting the laws. The three branches of government are independent from each other, yet cooperate by necessity. In the Federalist Paper No. 51, Madison illustrated his beliefs on how a balance in the power was necessary for a government to exist.
These ideas originated in the work of French philosopher Baron de Montesquieu who described these concepts in his book The Spirit of the Laws (1748). Here Montesquieu explained how these checks on powers were efficient in preventing tyranny.
Madison, as a major contributor to the authoring of the United States Constitution himself defined much of the structure of the government of the United States, and thus the power of the federal executive. As the fourth President of the United States Madison also exhibited his own principles regarding presidential conduct and the execution of powers. Foremost of these powers are:
- Nomination of federal officers
- Signing of congressional legislation into law
- Negotiation of treaties as head of government and of state
- Commander in Chief of the military